Use the benefit of hindsight to understand how information technology problems occur –and how they can be prevented

IT Disaster Assignment – Assignment Directions
Many business problems and disasters are blamed on information technology. A recent Google search
using the keywords “computer disaster” returned a result set containing 146,000,000 entries. Whoa!
Each student will find and document a disaster or significant problem stemming from the use of
information technology, preferably an event that relates to your area of study. (Examples of IT disasters
include but are not limited to: system outages and failures, implementation failures, legal actions
stemming from information technology, security and/or privacy breaches, a deleterious exploitation of
system vulnerabilities, a large number of erroneously processed transactions and/or…)
Learning Objectives
• Use the benefit of hindsight to understand how information technology problems occur –and
how they can be prevented
• Learn to document ‘lessons learned’ in terms of ‘Observation, Impact and Recommendation’
Assignment Directions
1. Using news sources such as newspapers, magazines, television, radio and the Internet, find a
disaster or significant problem related to the use of information technology.
2. The following criteria should evaluate as ‘true’ for selecting an event to document:
a. Were the impacts significant?
b. Is the event either a) related to your area of study, b) something that affected you in
some way –or c) something that affected lots of people in some way?
c. Can information about the incident be obtained from more than one news source?
3. Read the information that’s available to understand the initial situation, the problem, the
impacts and the root cause.
4. Use the accompanying template to document the event, keeping in mind the guidance given in
the syllabus:
a. Clear, concise and comprehensive content should always be the objective in a written
b. A low quantity of high quality verbiage is best. A high quantity of fluff is useless.
c. Spelling and punctuation matter.
5. Making use of the template and assuming clear and concise verbiage, a two to three page paper
(more or less) should generally satisfy the breadth/depth expectations of this assignment.
(Geez, a blank template pretty much takes up a page and half by itself!)
6. Classroom time permitting, a few students may be asked to provide a brief overview of the
event to the class, maybe 3-5 minutes in duration.

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